Santa making a snowman

Letter One, December 1992

Our First Christmas Letter Goes Out

Merry Christmas! I figured that a Christmas letter would help you know what's been going on with me this past year, so here goes.

In one of my more important accomplishments, I created a database to do mailings to update politicians about AIDS issues. Later I entered my friends in the same database to keep track of their addresses. Then, lo & behold, last week -- when I was getting Christmas stamps -- I saw that the Post Office would make free bar-coded labels from my database, saving them the sorting and my fingers the addressing. It was too good to pass up.

This has been a year of transition for me, particularly in relation to AIDS. In October 1991, I went on full disability from Enron -- but was thrilled to do so. It permanently locked in my medical and income benefits shortly before Enron began layoffs. It also relieved me from the stress of being the worldwide computer systems head for one of Enron's energy trading companies. (Enron is the third largest company in Houston, with $9 billion in revenues annually.) Because I had purchased a private disability policy many years back, I still take in enough to have fun. Later in October, I met my lover, Tom, who lives in Dallas. (OK, October was a busy month!)

In December I took Tom to the Enron Christmas party in a white, '63 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud convertible touring car. It was truly gorgeous and wonderful. We had a grand time.

In January I started taking AZT. For those who don't know, AZT changes all the reverse transcriptase in your body & can take a while to get used to. In my particular case, it was just six weeks of nausea, aches, insomnia & bitchiness. It was a pretty big strain on both Tom & I.

In April I visited my paternal grandmother, who was dying. It was nice to see her and the teddy bear I'd given her several years back. I went with my father and appreciated the depth of our sharing, particularly about how it was hard on him to be with two loved ones who he knew would likely die before him.

In May I took a fun trip to Austin, then was hospitalized with pneumonia two days later. No, not the nasty PCP-kind -- just bacterial. But it still took a lot out of me. During that hospital stay, a brain lesion was discovered, as well as "AIDS encephalopathy," where my brain was swelling.

In July I added ddC to my daily drugs. (It drives me a bit crazy, but is supposed to be good.)

August's Republican National Convention here in town gave me the chance of my lifetime to bitch about the horrendous Republican response to the AIDS epidemic, so I joined ACT-UP in a protest that turned into an ugly confrontation with the local police. The next week, Tom & I vacationed in Cozumel, Mexico. I had a massive sinus infection and my drugs prevented me from getting a suntan, but it was still relaxing.

September was party time. Tom and I went to a clean & sober conference in San Francisco and attended the Mr. Drummer contest there. Mucho fun!

In November, Social Security retroactively ruled me disabled as of October 1991. [With this determination, I was able to sell all of my Enron ESOP (Employee Stock Option Plan) stock. I am planning on using the proceeds to pay off debt, with the remainder to use as a down payment on a house or to buy a new car to travel the country in.] Also in November, I was hospitalized for a sinus infection that was inflaming my brain. Followup tests to the May results showed that both the lesion and the encephalopathy are somewhat better! And $12,000 of IV antibiotics cleared up the sinuses! To help keep my lungs and sinusses in good shape, me and my friend Burt have gone in on quitting smoking since December 3rd.

I send my love to you & hope that you are well.

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